Virgin Media adds 13,000 customers


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Virgin Media adds 13,000 customers

Virgin Media has returned to customer growth in the third quarter, reporting 13,000 customer net additions in the period.

The news follows a net loss of 70,300 customers in the second quarter, 40,000 of which were attributed to Virgin's dispute with Sky over carriage of the broadcaster's basic channels. 13,000 net additions is also Virgin's best quarterly performance since March 2006.

The cable group reported consumer revenues of £607.7m (down from £619.3m in Q2 and £642.8m in the same period last year), but a rise in mobile and content revenue boosted total revenue to £1.006bn, up from £995m in the second quarter but down slightly from the third quarter of 2006. Operating income stood at £46.7m, significantly up from £3m in the second quarter and attributed to billing system harmonisation and the subleasing of vacant property.

Neil Berkett, Virgin Media's acting chief executive, said: "Our third quarter results show a significant turnaround in customer and RGU growth with our best customer, broadband and telephony growth since the cable merger in March 2006.

"With the cable merger integration expected to be complete by year end, we can focus on continuing to improve the fundamentals, enhancing our products, reducing our churn, and delivering on our competitive strengths."

Virgin's broadband service continues to be a highlight, with broadband net additions in the quarter coming in at 115,800 - significantly up from 45,800 in the second quarter. Trials of DOCSIS 3.0 and 50Mbps services are well underway, and Berkett reiterated that downstream speeds will be boosted next year "to significantly differentiate our offering from DSL".

Television net additions were 20,400 for the period, again significantly up from 2,200 in the second quarter. 190,200 subscribers now take Virgin's V+ high definition DVR service, around 6% of the cableco's total digital TV subscriber base. The company was keen to highlight use of its video on demand services, reporting that 45% of Virgin TV customers now use VOD on a monthly basis with total monthly views of 23m on average through the quarter. Plans to roll-out a TV version of the BBC iPlayer are moving forward.

Regards Satdude. :thum: